Student Health Services

Advance Directives

Advance Directives can be put in place to instruct a healthcare provider what types of medical care and treatment you wish to receive, should you be unable to speak for yourself. This can include a wide variety of important decisions – such as organ or tissue donation, resuscitation efforts, and the type of care you would want. Advance Directives are not required, but it is important to be aware of them, even if you are young and healthy. Think about who you might want to speak on your behalf if you cannot make decisions for yourself. 

Advance directives may include the utilization of a healthcare proxy, another adult who knows you and your wishes. Should you become unable to speak for yourself, the healthcare proxy is able to step in and make the decisions. There is no requirement (other than age) for someone to be a healthcare proxy, but it is typically a trusted friend or loved one.

In New York, without an advanced directive in place the order of priority determines who can make decisions on your behalf if you are not able to. For most unmarried young adults, this would be your parents.

The full of order of priority in New York  is:

  • An MHL Article 81 court-appointed guardian ;
  • The spouse or domestic partner, as defined in the FHCDA;
  • an adult child;
  • a parent;
  • an adult brother or sister;
  • a close friend.

The full New York State Law can be found here.

If you wish to find out more about advanced directives, please email us at